O’Neill single fin by Chuck Vinson (mid 1970’s)



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O’Neill 6’8 single fin shaped by Chuck Vinson in the mid 1970’s. This board is in great all original condition and features a beautiful wood single fin. 

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History of Jack O’Neill

A surfing legend and generally believed to be the inventor of the modern wetsuit,‭ ‬Jack O‭’‬Neill was one of the most significant individuals the surf world has seen.‭ ‬Once he gave the surfers something that would protect them from the cold waters,‭ ‬the sport was‭ ‬changed forever.‭ ‬His characteristic eye-patch and interest in oceanography and marine education are only a few things that made him stand out from the crowd.‭ ‬Jack O‭’‬Neill was so much more than a surfer-‭ ‬an endless inventor,‭ ‬a sincere person with laid-back‭ ‬character,‭ ‬lifeguard,‭ ‬windsurfer,‭ ‬salesman,‭ ‬sailor,‭ ‬fisherman‭…‬ the list goes on and on.‭ ‬His name became one of the most recognized in the sport.
‭ ‬                 O‭’‬Neill was born in‭ ‬1923,‭ ‬in Denver,‭ ‬Colorado.‭ ‬He grew up in Oregon and Southern California,‭ ‬where he began body surfing in the late‭ ‬1930s.‭ ‬He was a Navy pilot during World War II.‭ ‬O‭’‬Neill later moved to San Francisco in‭ ‬1949‭ ‬and earned a bachelor‭’‬s degree in liberal arts at San Francisco State University.‭ ‬In‭ ‬1952,‭ ‬he founded the O‭’‬Neill brand while opening one of California‭’‬s first surf shops in a garage on the Great Highway in San Francisco.‭ ‬Jack O‭’‬Neill‭’‬s name is attached to surf-wear and his brand of surfing equipment.‭ H‬e not only opened one of the world‭’‬s first surf shops-‭ ‬Jack O‭’‬Neill also pioneered the neoprene wetsuit that helped popularize year-round cold-water surfing.‭ “‬I just wanted to surf longer.‭ ‬I just worked on something to make it last longer.‭”‬- O‭’‬Neill recalls about his revolutionary invention.‭ ‬He began experimenting in the early‭ ‬1950s with ways to insulate swimwear so he could stay in the cold Northern California waters longer.‭ ‬Surfers at the time were using sweaters sprayed with oily water sealant,‭ ‬as he recalls in one interview.‭ ‬He dabbled with foam rubber but switched to neoprene,‭ ‬which was lightweight and flexible.‭ ‬Although he is widely believed to be the inventor of the wetsuit,‭ ‬a UC Berkeley physicist Hugh Bradner had created a prototype wetsuit and tested it in icy Lake Tahoe in‭ ‬1950.‭ ‬O‭’‬Neill claims he hit on‭ ‬the idea of using neoprene in wetsuits after seeing the material in the woodwork of an airline.‭ ‬Who came up with the wetsuit has been portrayed as the longest-running argument in surfing,‭ ‬but as Jack O‭’‬Neill started an internationally known surf-wear business,‭ ‬he is commonly associated with the invention.‭
In December‭ ‬1996‭ ‬Jack O‭’‬Neill began a non-profit organization called O‭’‬Neill Sea Odyssey which provides students with hands-on lessons in marine biology and that teaches the relationship between the oceans and the environment.‭ ‬It has hosted about‭ ‬100,000‭ ‬children since it started.‭ ‬What he says about the program is‭ ‬“The ocean is alive,‭ ‬and we‭’‬ve got to take care of it.‭ ‬There is no doubt in my mind that the O‭’‬Neill Sea Odyssey is the best thing I‭’‬ve ever done.‭”‬ He‭’‬s also engaged in various other causes to support the environment,‭ ‬such as O‭’‬Neill Blue.‭ ‬His characteristic eye-patch is an outcome of the accident in which he lost his left eye,‭ involving‬ the surf leash,‭ ‬which had been established by his son‭ ‬Pat.‭ ‬During the‭ ‬80s,‭ ‬Jack O‭’‬Neill affirmed his domination of the worldwide wetsuit market.‭ To this day, the ‬O‭’‬Neill brand produces wetsuits,‭ ‬performance water and snow sports apparel, and lifestyle apparel.‭ ‬The company also sponsors young gifted and high-profile surfers,‭ ‬boarders and skiers,‭ ‬as part of their ambassador program.‭
Jack O‭’‬Neill lived on a cliffside estate overlooking the ocean in Santa Cruz,‭ ‬California from‭ ‬1959‭ ‬until he passed away on June 2, 2017 at the age of 94.‭ ‬Ever young at heart,‭ ‬the legacy of‭ “‬the man who turned winters into endless summers across the oceans from north to south‭”‬ lives on.‭ ‬He raised six children with his wife,‭ ‬Marjorie.‭ ‬Jack O‭’‬Neill was a legendary waterman,‭ ‬and his ideas and mindset are still carried on through his brand and family.‭ ‬As he once said,‭ ‬“It‭’‬s been a hell of a ride,‭ ‬long may it continue‭”‬.


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